The Sciences

Amazing spoon bending

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJul 7, 2008 12:34 AM

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It's incredible to me that some people still buy into psychic spoon-bending. This silliness was promulgated by the faux-psychic (like there's any other kind) Uri Geller back in the 70s, and has been rigorously debunked by James Randi. But there are still groups out there who do spoon bending like it's a mental training exercise, along the lines of fire walking. But it's a trick, a sham, a fake, a hoax, a cheat, a con, a fraud. I can prove it. If you take over 800 critical thinkers -- self-proclaimed non-believers in anything psi -- at a meeting to celebrate skepticism, give them each a spoon, and tell them to bend it with the power of their mind alone, what do you think would happen? Richard Wiseman and Tracy King have the answer. And they have the video to back it up. Richard is my evil twin and also a professor of psychology in England. He studies unusual thought processes, like how we perceive change -- you may have seen his color-changing card video, for example. So he and Tracy staged this spoon-bending exercise at TAM 6 in June, and we participated with gusto. It was fun! And I have my broken spoon along with Mrs. BA's as souvenirs, right next to a third one bent by Randi his own self at TAM 5.5. If you watch the video closely you can see me in the front row sitting next to Randi (Banachek and Adam Savage are there, too!). Note the closeup of BABloggee Jewel (with the red hair); her husband is next to her. BA minions are all over this video!

Of course, this isn't proof that people like Geller aren't bending spoons psychically. But which do you think is a better explanation? There is a psychic power that defies all the known laws of physics that have been so carefully tested for centuries... or that someone is pulling a scam, something we know humans have a predilection to do?

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